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Running Magazine: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon winner protests in support of Oromo people October 16, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

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VIDEO: Toronto Waterfront Half winner protests in support of Oromo people
Ethiopian Kindi Asefa won the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon on Sunday and performed a political protest as he crossed the finish line.

October 16th, 2016 by Tim Huebsch,  Running News, Running videos


The string of protests against the Ethiopian government among Canada-based runners continued on Sunday as Kindi Asefa crossed his arms above his head at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The Toronto Olympic Club athlete won the half-marathon in 1:08:34 and made an “X” above his head– a gesture in solidarity with the Oromo people.

The Oromo protests gained international attention at the Rio Olympics when Feyisa Lilesa famously crossed the finish line in second place in the men’s marathon while performing the protest. The Oromo people cross their arms above their head to imitate being handcuffed.


Lilesa is currently in the United States with a special skills visa and did not return home to Ethiopia because he feared for his life.

RELATED: Quebec City Marathon winner Ebisa Ejigu replicates Olympic medallist’s political protest.

According to Human Rights Watch, as many as 500 people have been killed in the protests between November 2015 and June 2016. The protests are occurring because the Ethiopian government is extending the capital city’s municipal boundary which is forcing the Oromo people away from their homes.

The boundary is extending into Oromia, home to much of the country’s Oromo people. The Oromo people are the largest ethnicity in the Horn of Africa. The Oromo people, according to BBC News, claim that the government is oppressive and that they have been marginalized.

After Lilesa’s political protest at the Olympics, Ebisa Ejigu made the gesture at the Quebec City Marathon. Soon after, Hajin Tola made an “X” with his arms at the CanKen 5K road race in Mississauga, Ont. Asefa, along with Tola and Ejigu, all train with the Toronto Olympic Club.

RELATED: Winner of Mississauga CanKen 5K race protests in support of Ethiopia’s Oromo people.

On Sunday, Asefa won by 10 seconds over Matthew McNeil. Erin McClure was the top woman in 1:20:40.


Athletic Nation Report: In Solidarity with the Oromo Protests athlete Hirut Guangul makes powerful gesture in 4-peat. #OromoProtests September 26, 2016

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Athlete Hirut Guangul joined the brave movement as she won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44.25.



Ethiopian Guangul makes powerful gesture in 4-peat

By Drake Lansman, 25 September 2016

MOLINE — As Hirut Guangul, of Ethiopia, crossed the Quad Cities Marathon finish line as the first woman overall for the fourth consecutive year, she crossed her arms above her head in an “X”.

Guanhul became the first QCM four-time champion, but the moment became larger than just her athletic achievement on Sunday morning.

“I like this race,” said Guanhul. “Four-time champion. I’m very, very happy.”

After the race, the 24-year-old said the “X” is a way of protesting the human rights abuses that are taking place in Ethiopia. Guanhul’s simple action is a brave and powerful one that bypasses any language barrier.

Hundreds of peaceful Ethiopian protesters have been killed or arrested by the Ethiopian military this year. Protesters have demanded equality for the country’s Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group that has felt marginalized by the government as it pushes them off their land before selling it.

Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa held up an “X” with his arms as he won silver in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. The gesture has been used as a symbol of strength and peaceful resistance.

Lilesa says he likely will not be able to return home after making the gesture of solidarity. The Oromos also have used the “X” as a sign of their protest.

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa said at an Olympic press conference. “My relatives are in prison, and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

Guangul joined the brave movement as she won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44.25.

She won her first QC Marathon in 2012, when she set the women’s open course record of 2:35.07. Guangul’s 2016 win earned her $3,000 in prize money.

Guangul says she enjoys the Quad Cities Marathon, and is happy to be back at the race.